Friday, November 25, 2016

Paper Things

I picked up Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson the other day at the library.  The story is told by eleven year old Ari.  She and her brother Gage lived with Janna as their guardian.  Gage is a nineteen year old who didn't want to live with Janna anymore, so Gage and Ari leave.  But Gage doesn't have a job or a place to live, so they depend on friends.  It seems like a realistic view of the difficulties of being homeless and trying to continue living a normal life.  This book would be good to read and discuss with middle school or high school students.  Though classified as juvenile literature, it is worth reading for anyone who works in a school system or with young people.   

Saturday, November 19, 2016

quilt camp

Last week I went to an organized quilt camp for the first time.  My sister Amanda was the teacher for the weekend.  While many people had their own projects to work on, I decided to try making the pineapple block that she showed.  It was good that I was at a class or I may not have ever really figured it out.  I made six blocks, then realized I am going to need more cream/white fabric prints. 

So I made a few other things, including this placemat that uses Good Neighbors fabric from Connecting Threads.  The back is some cute bunny fabric and scraps from my sister's stash.  When I finished, I decided that I liked the back better than the front. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Firestorm! by Joan Hiatt Harlow is a novel which takes place in Chicago the week before the well-known fire of 1871.  Poppy and Justin are about as different as can be but become good friends.   Twelve year old Poppy survives by stealing.  Justin is the son of a wealthy jeweler.  Justin's family, especially his father, do not trust Poppy and a mistake made by Justin just makes it worse.  This book is from the juvenile section of the library but I would not recommend it for younger children because of the themes of extreme poverty and mistreatment by adults.  It would bring up some good themes for older students to discuss among themselves or with adults, though.

Monday, October 24, 2016

gift giving

One thing I have done to make gift giving easier is to have a set thing to give to people on certain occasions.  Gift giving for can be simplified by making part of the choice ahead of time.  For baby showers, I almost always give some handmade bibs and a children's board books.  For wedding showers, I make some potholders to give along with some custard cups with lids.  The gifts can be personalized for the recipient, but much of the decision is done long before the need for the gift. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016


I planted two gardens this year, one at my dad's and the other at the community garden plot.  Each year, I have tried to find one or two things that I have never grown before to experiment with.  This year I chose kale because it is healthy and spaghetti squash at the suggestion of a friend.  Both did well, but I now know that I do not need to plant the entire package of kale seeds.  The biggest surprise is that I actually like spaghetti squash.  I had never planted winter squash of any kind as I do not eat it.  Spaghetti squash proved to be different.  This week I ate it for the first time.  The squash was tasty-I ate it with spaghetti sauce.  It is now on my list of things to plant each year. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

M is for Minnesota

M is for Minnesota is a good picture book to share with your children or grandchildren regardless of age.  There is a photograph for each letter and it shows the diversity of things or places that make Minnesota the state that it is. B is for Boundary Waters, F is for farming, H is for hockey, and M is for Minneapolis.  There are many alphabet books about Minnesota, but this one is my favorite because of the photos and the wide range of ages that would enjoy it.